Life is a long quiet river: praise of the "evil spirit" of Etienne Chatillez

Life is a long quiet river: praise of the “evil spirit” of Etienne Chatillez

The 1988 cult comedy returns tonight on TMC, followed by another popular film from the director, Tanguy (2001).

The scathing humor of Life is a long calm river, Etienne Chatillez’s comedy has not aged a bit, 35 years after its release. We were already laughing “bad spirit” of the director – who then signed his first film after having made a career in advertising – in the issue of First published in February 1988.

“If you like Manichaeism, the contrasts between black and white, nice and bad, beautiful and ugly, you have to see the edifying spectacle of two very French families, wrote Bertrand Mosca.


At the Groseilles, we don’t care about anything and we let the children go about their business (sniffing glue on the sly, farting with beer from the age of twelve, etc.) hands on the table and we don’t forget that ‘on Monday, it’s ravioli!’ Life is a long calm river could have contented itself with being an ironic and perverse film about the small nothings of two family lives, irresistibly caricatural, and therefore comical. But it was without counting on the bad spirit of Etienne Chatillez for whom humor is not an end in itself. The laughter quickly becomes sardonic, then grating and, on occasion, moving. A shot of life-saving laughter and a caustic good mood.”

Life is a long calm river will return at 8:50 p.m. on TMC. Then the channel will program at 10:25 p.m. another film by the same director, Tanguy.

This other comedy, released in 2001, had also pleased the editorial staff of Première, even if the author of the review, Olivier De Bruyn, regretted a start to comedy “unnecessarily stretched”. He then detailed that the whole thing gained in rhythm and humor once his parents made a radical decision: to ruin the life of their son until he moved. All staged by a pro of wickedly funny stories, Etienne Chatiliez, already making fun of the failings of society in Aunt Danielle, Life is a long calm riverso, or Happiness is in the meadow. “(in its second part, ) the film finds its voice, and Chatiliez reconnects with its predilection for the cruel instantaneous. It is at this precise moment that Sabine Azéma and André Dussollier let go and deliver an energetically crazy performance that delights the The result: a stock of absurd and edgy sketches that are enough to transform Tanguy in rather frequentable comedy.”

André Dussollier: “Tanguy is an insolent subject and finally a real comedy”

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